The man who first experimented with injecting ink into an eyeball is a US tattoo artist who goes by the name of Luna Cobra. Far from wanting to look evil, the original goal was to look like the blue-eyed characters from the cult science fiction film, Dune.
“There used to be a private body modification convention that happened every few years in Canada,” Luna Cobra says.
“That year, an old friend had Photoshopped a picture of his eyes to look blue like in Dune. I told him, ‘I think I can do that for real.'”
The next day, Luna Cobra took a syringe and practised on three brave volunteers.
“I’m aware of how insane that sounds, but I’ve been doing this type of thing for my whole life so I wasn’t coming from nowhere with this,” he says.
His technique, which he has modified over the years, involves injecting pigment directly into the eyeball so it rests under the eye’s thin top layer, or conjunctiva.
A single small injection has enough ink to cover about a quarter of the eye. It takes several injections to completely cover the sclera, which is then coloured for life. He has done it for hundreds of people – in blue, green, red and black – from Singapore and Sydney to London and the US.
“If you want to amuse yourself by decorating your eyeball, why not do it?” he says. “I do a lot of things that look like tie-dye or ‘cosmic space’. I think it brings a realm of fantasy into everyday life.”